Fabulous Fungi

It may be spring (or even summer) weather in other parts of the country, but in western Washington, the rains continue unabated. Rather than fight it, Wolf Haven is reprinting an article which originally ran in the winter issue of our members-benefit magazine, Wolf Tracks. Just for fun, we’ve added some more pictures of mushrooms that can be found on our prairie.

By Anne Schuster, Prairie Specialist, Wolf Haven

The rainy season of the Pacific Northwest is also the season of mushrooms. Mushrooms are the reproductive parts of underground fungi, sort of like the flower version of a fungus. Most parts of a fungus are microscopic, living in and among plants and soil. Fungi make up 90% of the living material in forest soil. There are estimated to be up to 5 million species of fungus, but less than 10% of those species are known to science. Fungi, which are more closely related to animals than plants, are amazingly important for humans. The antibiotic penicillin, yeast for baking bread and brewing alcoholic beverages, and delicious truffles are all types of fungi. Fungi were the first living organisms to colonize land; they might stimulate clouds to rain with their spores; and are a huge reason earth is not covered in dead plants and toxic materials. Fungi are one of the few things that can decompose the cellulose from dead trees, but there are also species of fungi that can metabolize dangerous metals, bacteria, and even nuclear waste into safer products.

Next time you are out at Wolf Haven, keep an eye out for some of these mushrooms on our prairie, and also give thanks for their role in our world.

Little mushrooms

Little mushrooms

Turkey Tail fungi on logs

Turkey Tail fungi on logs

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Mushrooms among moss

Mushrooms among moss

Witch's butter

Witch’s Butter

Huge mushrooms and author

Huge mushrooms and author

Pretty little mushrooms

Sheridan PR blog: “There’s No ‘I’ in Bart”

Andrew Munday is a student in the Public Relations-Corporate Communications class at Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. Check out his most recent blog post on @SheridanPRblog, about Wolf Haven.  He describes a really creative way to talk about nonprofit public relations – through symbolic wolf adoption!

There’s no ‘I’ in Bart: Sheridan PRCC Comes Together to Adopt a Wolf and Learn About Non-Profit PR

Coexistence: A Wolf Panel discussion – Feb. 23, 2017

Wolf-Panel flyer

Join Wolf Haven International on Thursday, February 23 as the complexities of wolf recovery in WA State are discussed by the following panelists:

Dr. Aaron Wirsing – University of Washington

Linda Saunders – Director of Conservation, Wolf Haven International

Donny Martorello – Wolf Policy Lead, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Dr. Mike Paros, The Evergreen State College (TESC)

Where:  The Evergreen State College (TESC),
Lecture Hall 3, Purce Hall
Cost: Free with student ID, $3 advance at Greener Bookstore, $5 at the door.
Information: EvergreenPaws 
 

 

 

The Origin of Wolves

Author's sketch of prehistoric wolf skull.

Author’s sketch of prehistoric wolf skull.

by Chris Montero, Outreach Coordinator, Wolf Haven International

This article was originally printed in the winter issue of Wolf Tracks magazine, published by Wolf Haven International. All sketches in the article are original works by the author. Wolf Tracks is written and produced quarterly by Wolf Haven staff members and is a benefit of membership. If you would like to start receiving Wolf Tracks in print or electronic format, become a Wolf Haven International Member here.

Read The Origin of Wolves.

 

Tributes to those we lost in December

December is usually a time of celebration as we celebrate the varied end-of-year holidays and festivities that take place. This year, however, Wolf Haven experienced a string of losses in the sanctuary that made it a very bittersweet time for us. Occasionally, as in this case, several animals pass away in a short time frame. It may seem unusual, but when you have a fairly geriatric wolf population, as we do at Wolf Haven, these deaths are not out-of-the ordinary – but this doesn’t make them any less difficult to witness. In the wild, wolves typically live 4-6 years, whereas due to the safe, secure environment and medical attention that we are able to provide at Wolf Haven, many of our residents live into their teens. The four animals that we pay tribute to here passed away at the ages of 15-1/2, 12-1/2, and nearly 17, respectively.

Brothers AKI & HOPA

Aki

Aki

On December 11 and 12, we lost the brothers and littermates Hopa and Aki. The brothers had grown up together at a wolf facility in Washington State and were moved to Wolf Haven in 2014 after the facility decided to close its doors.

For most of their lives, the brothers lived apart. They had separate enclosures, separate female companions and separate lives. When they came to Wolf Haven, Aki and Hopa came as bachelors and each was initially paired with single females here at the sanctuary. Both ended up outliving their female companions and were once again living alone.

A few months ago, we moved Hopa into the enclosure next door to his brother Aki and though there was a fence between them, they seemed to enjoy each other’s company (we often saw them spending time at the communal fence they shared). Hopa passed away on December 11 due to suspected kidney failure, and his brother Aki died the next day from complications due to advancing age. They were 15 ½ years old.

Sweet Klondike

Klondike

KLONDIKE

Klondike passed away from large, aggressive hemagiosarcoma (blood tumor) on December 14. He was a handsome wolfdog with a grizzled brown and gray coat, beautiful eyes, and one of the sweetest faces in the sanctuary.

Klondike spent most of his life before coming to Wolf Haven in squalor, tethered to an eight-foot drag chain at a roadside attraction in Alaska. He was finally rescued in 2011 when the site was investigated by the state and shut down. At Wolf Haven, he shared an enclosure with gray wolf Mehina for several years until her passing, and then lived with female wolf Shali. Klondike was known for his very mellow personality and could often be seen lying down and observing ravens flying overhead or wolves playing in surrounding enclosures.

Sometimes he suddenly took off at full speed and ran “laps” around his enclosure, eventually coming to a stop near the caretakers – especially if they had food.He loved to sing and rarely missed the opportunity to join in a collective howl with the others in the sanctuary.

LADYHAWK

At almost 17 years of age, Lady was the oldest female in the sanctuary and for the most part, she enjoyed excellent health. In fact, she gave her much younger companion, Caedus, a run for his money at every turn. However, last April Ladyhawk started having periodic seizures, which is not uncommon in older canids. Initially, Ladyhawk’s seizures were relatively infrequent and short in duration and she rebounded quickly.  As we moved into autumn, her seizures were still infrequent, but lasted longer and recovery was slower.

Ladyhawk

Ladyhawk

Three days before Christmas, animal care staff found Ladyhawk in her deckpen lying unresponsive and with labored breathing. Thinking that perhaps she had just had a seizure, we were hoping that she might rebound, as she had in the past. Sadly, she did not and it was apparent that she was in discomfort. After sending video footage and consulting on the phone with our attending veterinarian, it was decided that the kindest thing we could do for Lady was to help her pass on. Ladyhawk was humanely euthanized in her enclosure, surrounded by her caretakers as Caedus kept vigil from a distance. It was a very peaceful passing.

Ladyhawk was one of the most well-known wolves at the sanctuary, partly because of her beautiful, expressive face that graced many an article, story or video of the sanctuary and partly for her mischievous personality.

Good bye Friends

Although it is always very sad to lose a beloved resident of the sanctuary, we can all gather some comfort in knowing that at least while they were living at Wolf Haven, each animal was treated with care, compassion and respect.  We are honored that we had an opportunity to provide a home where each could flourish in his or her own way. We wish to give a very special thank and heartfelt condolences to those of you who honored their lives through symbolic sponsorship and adoption.

Wolf Gallery

Why we don’t support bringing wild wolves into captivity

Profanity Peak wolf courtesy of WDFW

Profanity Peak wolf courtesy of WDFW

As the events of the Profanity Peak situation continue to unfold, we have been asked on multiple occasions why we are not offering to bring the remaining wolves into our sanctuary or supporting the efforts by our friends at Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) who have offered to bring the wolves to their facility in Southern California.

As an organization whose sole purpose is to conserve and protect wolves and their habitat, we understand that not offering sanctuary to the Profanity Peak wolves may seem incongruent to our mission. After all, one of the primary ways we fulfil our mission is to provide sanctuary to wolves in need of placement. As a sanctuary, our highest priority is ensuring that we provide our residents with the very best quality of life that we can, understanding full well that we will never be able to replicate conditions in the wild. Therefore, it is our belief that capturing wild wolves and bringing them into captivity does not serve that end.

We have been rescuing wolves (and wolfdogs) for nearly 35 years, and over the course of our long history, we have been asked many times to provide sanctuary for wild wolves who were facing destruction but we have agreed to do so only twice- once in 1991 and again in 2015.

In 1991, a yearling from the Nine Mile pack in Montana was brought in after her parents had been killed and she and her siblings began predating on livestock. Her family was the first to naturally recolonize into Montana after a decades-long absence, so the Nine Mile pack had gained a certain notoriety and many people, including state and federal agency personnel, did not want to see her killed. As a result, she was captured and transferred to Wolf Haven in the spring of 1991.  From all accounts, it was a difficult transition.  Tenino Montana, as she became known, spent the first few years of her life in captivity pacing and looking for a way out. Her enclosure had to be reinforced top and bottom with hot wire to prevent her from escaping. When I met her in 1998, she seemed to tolerate her life in captivity, but she was always aloof and behaved differently from the other wolves in the sanctuary. I cannot in good conscience say that she had a good quality of life and if presented with that situation again today, I do not think we would have made the same decision.

In 2015 we agreed to take in the Ruby Creek female. You may recall her story: she was the young wolf in NE Washington who spent most of her time hanging out with a producer’s livestock guardian dogs. She had become well habituated to human activity and became a fixture on the landscape within that community. WDFW tried for weeks to haze her away but to no avail. She would run from whatever aversive conditioning tactic was deployed only to return a short time later. It got to the point where the producer would come out in the morning to find this wolf curled up next his dogs’ kennels. The more accustomed she became to human activity, the shorter her flight distance became and hazing became completely ineffective. The situation was becoming untenable and lethal removal appeared to be the only option. However, this female was atypical in that she had become so comfortable around humans. Some wolves might travel on the fringes of towns or communities or even pass through someone’s property, but most do not linger, especially if humans are present. Given how uncharacteristic her behavior was, we thought that perhaps the Ruby Creek female might settle into life in captivity. On February 11, 2015 she was darted from a helicopter (WDFW had to wait until there was snow on the ground to be able to safely dart her) and transferred to Wolf Haven. She has been with us for over a year and she seems to have adapted well. Most importantly, she appears to have good quality of life. She has a male companion that she is very bonded with and positively interacts with, good food and a heavily vegetated one –plus acre enclosure. She rarely sees people- only animal care access that part of the sanctuary – and we do not force ourselves on her. We let her “be” as much as possible.

The Ruby Creek female is an exception- far from the norm. Most wolves go well out of their way to avoid humans. In fact, unless they are exposed to humans during the critical period of socialization (20-77 days old), it is very unlikely that they will ever be comfortable around them.

Unlike domestic dogs, the critical period for socialization for wolves begins at approximately two- three weeks of age (dogs begin later). When the socialization “window” is open,  pups explore their surroundings without fear and will retain familiarity throughout their lives with those things they come in contact with. As the period progresses, fear and neophobic behavior increases and once the window closes at approximately 77 days, new sights, sounds and smells will elicit a fear response. This is why breeders of captive wolves and wolfdogs will pull pups away from their mothers as early as two-days of age, in order to immediately expose them to humans while that critical window is open. Human contact is constantly reinforced and even then, it is no guarantee that these animals will ever be socialized. We have rescued hundreds of wolves and wolfdogs who have been hand-reared and still remain extremely wary of humans so imagine how stressful a forced relationship with humans could be for a wild wolf.

Simply stated, wolves belong in the wild, not in captivity. Even under the best of circumstances, nothing we could provide would replicate the conditions that free ranging wolves are evolutionarily designed for: family life, cooperative hunting, cultural transmission, immigration, emigration and traversing long distances (sometimes 35-40 miles a day) – all things that life inside a chain link enclosure cannot offer. For an animal who has only known autonomy, their choices become limited and captivity reifies human control over all aspects of their lives.

Even if we suppose, for the sake of argument, that it would be in the best interest to bring the remaining Profanity Peak wolves into captivity given the terrain and the time of year, it would be extremely difficult to safely capture them. Trapping, particularly after all the human activity in the area, would be highly unlikely and trying to chemically immobilize them from a helicopter without snow on the ground to slow the wolves down would be dangerous and quite possibly fatal.

Bringing these wolves into captivity is not the answer to coexistence. It will not serve as moral repair and it will not make things right for animals who are paying the price for human interests. If these wolves were brought into captivity, people may breathe a sigh of relief because the lives of these animals were spared- giving little thought to what that life might look like.They may be inclined to feel that the moral work has been done. However, life in captivity is not restitution nor is it the way to adjudicate conflict.

Coexistence requires attending to the relationships between all parties; it involves examining how the relationships are impacted by systems beyond the individuals and entities and thus enables us to focus on the areas of those systems that need improvement. It is beyond tragic when any individual loses his or her life but bringing wild wolves into captivity glosses over the deeper issues. It is a temporary solution and not sustainable for we could never build enough enclosures to house all the wolves who will conflict with human interests and why would we ever want to?

Washington state faces a fork in the road: continue down the path that pits individuals and communities against one another which does nothing to prevent wolves from losing their lives (the Rockies is a perfect example). Or, be courageous and take the road less traveled which could lead us to meaningful, enduring conflict transformation  so that the death of the Profanity Peak wolves will not have been in vain.

Goodbye Sequra

Sequra's first Wolf Haven adoption photo - 2005

One of earliest Wolf Haven “adoption” photos of Sequra – 2005

by Wendy Spencer, director of Animal Care

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our long-time resident and friend, Sequra.

Over the course of the last year we saw a slow decline in Sequra’s overall well-being. She had some generalized stiffness, muscle atrophy, weakness in her backend, and other issues that come with old age (loss of visual and auditory acuity, lethargy, change in appetite).  One of the most notable changes in Sequra was the gradual onset of what we can only assume was a canine form of dementia.  In the early stages, she would present with what seemed to be disorientation or confusion, and towards the end of her life, she spent countless hours “patrolling” the perimeter of her enclosure at a leisurely walk.

For months we closely monitored her behavior and given the fact that she engaged regularly with her enclosure mate, Lakota, and was excited for food and enrichment, we determined that she was still experiencing good quality of life. However, during the week of July 24, we noticed a significant change. Mobility was becoming more of an issue for her, and despite pain management, she seemed to be in discomfort. It became increasingly difficult for her to lie down and once she did, she struggled to get herself upright again. Her once voracious appetite began to wane and her overall zest for life seemed to be fading.

Lakota & Sequra

Lakota & Sequra

During the morning walk-through on July 29, animal care staff found Sequra lying in her deckpen, unable to stand. She tried numerous times and when she finally did manage to get herself upright, she was weak and her breath was labored. She stood only a moment before slumping back into a prone position. In consultation with our veterinarian, we talked through our options and sadly, they were limited. Anytime we are faced with a difficult end of life decision, we weigh our options very carefully and we agonize over whether or not it is the right thing to do. In Sequra’s case we determined that the kindest thing we could do for her was to help her pass on.

Looking into her clouded eyes as she laid panting on the cool floor of her deckpen, she seemed ready to go and as her caretakers, we felt obliged to honor her. Sequra passed peacefully in the comfort of her enclosure with the help of her familiar caretakers and most importantly, her canine friend, Lakota, close by.

As I watched her take her last breath, I thought back to the day we brought Sequra to Wolf Haven. She was just two years old at the time and had been rescued from a difficult situation. She was skinny and afraid and spent the first few weeks with her tail tucked as she hid behind the snowberry bushes in her enclosure whenever staff was present. In time, she regained her sense of self and it made our hearts happy to see her thrive in her new home. Over the years, Sequra was paired with three different males and she was kind, affectionate and a steadfast friend to each. Generosity of spirit and kindness of heart is the legacy she leaves (as well as her unique food caching skills).

Sequra's final adoption photo - 2016

Sequra’s final adoption photo – 2016

Rest in peace, beautiful Sequra.

Summer Sanctuary Update at Wolf Haven

by Pamel Maciel, Mexican Wolf SSP/Hispanic Outreach Specialist, Wolf Haven International

This article was originally published in the Summer 2016 issue of Wolf Tracks, Wolf Haven’s quarterly magazine for Members.

 

Spruce's final adoption picture, Julie Lawrence photo

Spruce’s final adoption picture (Julie Lawrence photo)

Our recount of these last few months is a bittersweet one. In late March, we lost our dear friend Spruce. He was a sweet 13-year old male gray wolf who passed after a year and a half period of health decline. For some of us, Spruce’s passing hasn’t been easy to assimilate. He was a big white wolf with a conspicuous presence. Every time Animal Care staff was feeding in the area, Spruce “followed” us along the fence line, observing each of our movements. He stared at us with intense focus, as if hoping that every meatloaf, chicken, salmon or treat in the truck was for him and only him. Farewell, beautiful Spruce, you will always be part of the sanctuary.

Willow, T, and Senna

Willow, T, and Senna

While some go, others come and this spring we warmly received Tecumseh, a high-content wolfdog born to the pet trade. “T” is of shy temperament and has a gorgeous expressive face. He is currently housed with hyperactive wolfdog sisters Willow and Senna, who are making sure his life here is anything but boring. Welcome handsome “T”!

In a humbling expression of the cycle of life, Wolf Haven’s red wolf community experienced a couple of changes. In June we said goodbye to both Jacob (M1405) and Tamaska (F1485). For several days prior to his passing, Jacob wasn’t his usual self. When we took him to the clinic, his blood profile revealed chronic renal failure -a common disease in older canines (Jacob was 11 years old, an advanced age for a wolf.) As his kidneys weren’t functional, the best we could do was help him peacefully move on from this life. Tamaska had a really hard time losing her friend. Usually the remaining companion will grieve for several days, so we allow them time and space to adjust before making any changes or bringing a new mate. After two weeks, she still had no appetite and was very lethargic. We decided to take her to the vet and, unfortunately, tests results were consistent with Addison’s decease.

Red wolves Tamaska & Jacob

Red wolf pair Tamaska & Jacob

The most likely scenario is that she had this underlying condition for a while but the stress of Jacob’s passing was the tipping point. They were very bonded and it’s difficult to say what her quality of life would have been moving forward. We could have tried to manage it (the condition is fairly common in certain breeds of dogs) but it would have required catching her up every 20 days for the rest of her life for injections, which is ok perhaps for a domestic dog, but not for a red wolf.

The kindest thing we could do was to help her pass on and join her beloved friend. Jacob and Tamaska lived and died as a tightly bonded pair. We will always have them in our hearts.

On the uplifting side of news, we have red wolf pups!  In June, they started crawling out of the den and exploring all the surroundings. Nash (F1945) is being a wonderful mom, taking the best possible care of her kids, nursing them and keeping them safe.

11-week old pups at their health care check

11-week old pups at their health care check     (Julie Lawrence photo)

Parents, Nash (mother) and Tala (father)

Parents, Nash (mother) and Tala (father)

She initially gave dad Tala (M1482) a hard time when he tried to approach the pups, but eventually she welcomed him to the group, keeping an eye on him and making sure he is delicate and careful at all times. Watching the family dynamics via remote camera is such a delight; we are lucky to be able to learn from them! This litter is a result of the red wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) efforts. Every single one of these little beings is an invaluable contribution to the conservation of the extremely endangered red wolf, the only wolf species endemic to the United States.

Loving good-bye to red wolf pair

Red wolves Tamaska & Jacob

Red wolf pair Tamaska & Jacob

JACOB BLACK

Jacob and Tamaska were part of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan program, a federally managed program designed to maintain the genetic health and viability of this incredibly endangered species.

Jacob Black

Jacob Black

Jacob had recently turned 11, and though not considered old by Wolf Haven standards, he was approaching old age. We began to notice some changes in him; most notably, he seemed a little slower than usual. One morning, instead of eagerly waiting at the fence for food and dancing from foot to foot as usual, he hung back. Despite this change in behavior, Jacob continued to eat and move well, but on June 3, he was found lying in his daybed next to the large oak tree in his enclosure. Animal care staff brought Jacob to the clinic where blood work revealed advanced kidney failure. Sadly, there was nothing that could be done but help our friend pass peacefully. Jacob was humanely euthanized at the clinic without ever waking up.

TAMASKA

Tamaska, female red wolf

Tamaska, female red wolf

Jacob’s passing took a toll on his enclosure mate, Tamaska. Often when a wolf loses his or her mate, we see what we would call grief manifest in myriad ways, just as we do with humans. Sometimes it is general lethargy, or lack of appetite, or some other change in behavior. For Tamaska, it was all of these things.

Initially we attributed these changes to her adjusting to life without Jacob, but when her behavior didn’t improve, we took her to the veterinary clinic. Bloodwork revealed that Tamaska had Addison’s disease, a disorder of the adrenal gland that is often exacerbated by stress. The most likely scenario is that she had this underlying condition for a while but the stress of Jacob’s passing was the tipping point. They were very bonded and it’s difficult to say what her quality of life would have been moving forward. We could have tried to manage it – the condition is fairly common in certain breeds of dogs – but it would have required us catching her up every 20 days for the rest of her life for injections. This might be ok with a domestic dog, but not a red wolf.

The kindest thing we could do was to help her pass on. Tamaska passed away on June 15, less than two weeks after Jacob died.

Tamaska and Jacob had been very bonded while they lived together at Wolf Haven.  In death, we plan to put them together in our memorial garden – just as they should be. Rest in peace beautiful Tamaska and handsome Jacob.

Wolf memorial cemetery

Wolf memorial cemetery